Thurgood Marshall’s high dropout rate studied

Only three black boys graduated from Thurgood Marshall Academic High School last year.

That staggering statistic led students Donel Finks, Angelica Escobar, Edgar Ulu, Fernando Torrez and Frank Nelson to explore the underlying factors that cause so many of their peers to drop out.  

Their five-minute-long documentary — “Why So Low?” — was the winner of the high school division at this year’s My Hero International Film Festival, which celebrated its sixth anniversary Saturday.

The festival is part of the My Hero Project, a nonprofit organization started by Karen Pritzker, Jeanne Meyers and Rita Stern in 1995 as a response to the lack of inspiring stories in the media.

“It started as a way for people around the world to celebrate humanity and as a tool for students, activists and teachers to have a way to share stories about their heroes,” said Emma Olson, development consultant for the My Hero Project.

The group of five Thurgood Marshall students examined why the second-largest racial group at their school had the lowest graduation rates in “Why So Low?”

According to Olson, the filmmakers conducted research and interviewed members of their student body, administrators and teachers to determine how they could counteract the incredibly low graduation rate.

They found that the dropout rate is largely due to a lack of resources rather than a lack of skills. Thirty percent of families in the area earn less than $10,000 a year, and local kids make up 27 percent of the youths in the juvenile system.

The screening of “Why So Low?” at the film festival shed light on the unfortunate reality that many black youths face on a daily basis.  

“My Hero provides a platform for communication, collaboration and creative expression,” Olson said.

On Saturday, 72 films were awarded and 39 individuals or organizations received special Hero awards for effecting positive change either in their local community or the global community, Olson said.

This year’s Best of Fest Award winner was a film illustrating the philosophy of Nobel Peace Prize winner Wangari Maathai and her Kenya-based environmentalist non-governmental organization.

shaughey@sfexaminer.com

Finishing school

Profile of Thurgood Marshall Academic High School, 2008-09.

713 Enrollment

24.7% Percentage of students who are black

176 Number of black students

2.7% Dropout rate for entire school

Bay Area NewseducationLocalSan FranciscoThurgood Marshall Academic High School

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

San Francisco Police Officer Nicholas Buckley, pictured here in 2014, is now working out of Bayview Station. <ins>(Department of Police Accountability records)</ins>
SF police return officer to patrol despite false testimony

A San Francisco police officer accused of fabricating a reason for arresting… Continue reading

Riordan Crusaders versus St. Ignatius Wildcats at JB Murphy Field on the St. Ignatius Prepatory High School Campus on September 14, 2019 in San Francisco, California. (Chris Victorio | Special to the S.F. Examiner)
State allows high school sports to resume, but fight is far from over

For the first time since mid-March 2020, there is hope for high… Continue reading

A nurse draws up a dose of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine at the Mission neighborhood COVID-19 vaccine site on Monday, Feb. 1, 2021. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
SF expands vaccine eligiblity, but appointments ‘limited’

San Francisco expanded eligibility for COVID-19 vaccinations Wednesday but appointments remain limited… Continue reading

The now-shuttered Cliff House restaurant overlooks Ocean Beach people at Ocean Beach on Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2021. (Sebastian Miño-Bucheli / Special to the S.F. Examiner)
History buffs working to keep Cliff House collection in public view

Funds needed to buy up historic building’s contents at auction

Perceived supply and demand in the Bay Area’s expensive rental market can play a big part in determining what people pay. (Shutterstock)
Bay Area rental market is rebounding — but why?

Hearing about people leaving town can have as big an effect as actual economic factors

Most Read